I think I’ve finally reached the age where people begin questioning your self-worth if there isn’t a rock the size of a continent on your ring finger.
We hardly live in an age anymore where single twenty-five year-olds are considered spinsters, yet there are still some people who think that single, young women are cruel homewreckers who will succumb to the pangs of unbridled lust anytime a moderately attractive man walks within their peripheral vision.
I work in a wasteland of menopausal women who can be warm and cranky, but who overarchingly just seem tired. They are all members of the First Wives Club of divorcees or widowers and they look upon me with equal parts jealousy, fear, and hatred. When I tell them that a.) I am not engaged or married nor do I want to be, b.) that I hate children and finally c.) I just want to concentrate on my career, they all immediately emit this sound that could be likened to upset hens. Without realizing it, I have done something to them. I have disturbed the delicate equilibrium of womanhood, challenging my predestined life as a baby-making machine.
Today’s young women are unlike any the world has seen before. We are the result of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd waves of feminism, Roe vs. Wade, the morning after pill, and Britney Spears. We have been promised the whole world and have been blessed with so many options that we don’t even know which ones to choose. It’s like that quote from Sylvia Plath’s The Belle Jar:
I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.
So what are we suppose to do? What paths are we suppose to choose? Do we take the route of the corporate Wall Street couger, wearing suits and stilettos and forgetting are friends’ birthdays? Or do we marry young and have a litter, never really discovering our true utilitarian potential?
Even the task of finding a potential mate is tricky. I’ve tried picking men up in bars. I’ve had my girlfriends make me up, putting so much stuff on my face that I look like one of the residents of Whoville. I’ve posed by the jukebox, fondling my drink and trying to appear detached and coy. Instead I appear like this:
Maybe I’ll get lucky and a semi nice guy will come up and start talking to me. He’ll be sweet and funny and about an hour into the conversation I’ll discover he’s 27 and still lives with his mom. Dang.
So this is why I’m focusing on my career. Life is too complicated and I’m the kind of person that can only do one thing at a time. Maybe someday I will want to get married and have kids. But for now, I’m happy ruffling a few middle aged feathers.